|FILM| The Silver Linings Playbook
dir. David O. Russell
Screenplay: David O. Russell
Released: 16th November 2012
Distributed: The Weinstein Company
I had actually seen this film before I’d read the book, and I knew beforehand that the two would be quite different. I don’t know if that awareness will affect my review, or if it’ll give me a different insight so I can share my thoughts with you. I recently read and reviewed the novel, which you can find here, and then I re-watched the adaptation.
To avoid spoilers, I will discuss the movie in a broad sense, and then I will narrow it down and discuss the film in more detail. To begin, I think the actors in this film did an absolutely marvellous job. Bradley Cooper portrays Pat Solitano (or Pat Peoples in the novel) fantastically. His character suffers from mental illness, and he embodies the character, and gets across the characters different moods, and feelings perfectly. As I had seen the adaptation before I read the novel, I don’t know how much that effected my thoughts towards this, would I still have felt the same if I had consumed the story the other way round? I’d be interested to see what other people think about this. The stand-out role for me was Jennifer Lawrence as Tiffany. I love this actress anyway, but she was phenomenal in this film. I couldn’t fault her performance. She brought the lightness that I felt from the book onto the screen, and was very comical. One thing that struck me, after actually reading the source material, was that the producers actually chose an actress that was a lot younger than was portrayed in the book. Like I mentioned before, had I read the book first, I don’t know if my opinion would have been different, but I read the book and imagined Jennifer Lawrence rather than imagined the written character.
In terms of the adaptation, as I mentioned previously, the film does differ from its source material somewhat but I actually prefer it. It bothers me sometimes when a film loses a lot because of time constraints, and I think this adaptation manages to get across the basic plot of the source material without disappointing the readers. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of things that are different, but I believe the changes work for the motion picture. If the novel would have been enunciated to the letter, it wouldn’t have read as well on screen.
One aspect I feel I can talk about in the non-spoiler discussion is the differences in time, in the respect that, the novel begins four years after an incident, and the film is only a few months later. Whilst I understand why this is important for the film, I thought it would have been better to keep that aspect similar to the novel. For me, it showed just how much Pat had to overcome upon his return from the facility.
I’m going to discuss the film in a little more detail for you now, so if you have neither read the book, nor seen the adaptation, I’d avoid this section. Particularly if you haven’t read the book because I will be discussing things that were changed between the two mediums and I wouldn’t want to spoil anything for you.
The one thing that struck me the most that was lost in the adaptation was the relationship between Pat and his father. In the novel they have a strained relationship, where his father only spoke to him if the Eagles were having a winning streak. His father would frequently ignore his existence and lash out at him if Pat had an aggressive or down moment. In the adaptation this was lost completely, and I thought that was one of the more important relationships in the book. In the adaptation, although he still bases a lot of his interactions on the results of the Eagles games, he still appears to be supportive of his son’s recovery. I think they should have left the relationship strained to reflect that sometimes that is the case. Not every family is happy and there for each other.
I’d like to talk about the changes to the endings, and discuss why I do and don’t like the changes to that. Although, as ever, I know that the film needs to be more concise for timing reasons, I still think Pat shouldn’t have forgiven Tiffany has instantaneously has he did. I believe the scene where Pat sees Nikki with someone new and with a family was important to Pat’s recovery. Obviously because the film span is set over a few months rather than years, this wouldn’t be possible. So in that respect I liked that Pat was able to move on from Nikki without having to see how she has moved on in life.
This is one of my favourite film adaptations I think I’ve ever seen. Although it is somewhat different to the source material, I believe the producers have done a fantastic job of bringing this incredible story to the screen. I can understand why it has one countless awards. Can’t recommend it enough.